Mercy Corps has been working in Syria since 2008 — delivering assistance and support both before and during the ongoing civil war. We are supporting those affected by the conflict in both Syria and neighboring countries by providing emergency assistance to meet basic needs, creating safe spaces for youth, increasing economic opportunities and more. In 2018, we provided assistance to 1.5 million people all across Syria.
With a population of 18.4 million people, an overwhelming majority of Syrians have been impacted by the conflict that started in 2011. Approximately seven out of every 10 people in Syria — 11.7 million in total — are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. 40 percent of them are children under 18.
What started in 2011 as peaceful anti-government protests has since turned into the most violent conflict since WWII, killing at least 220,000 civilians, and displacing nearly 12 million people.
The conflict has done severe damage to the Syrian economy. Over half of Syrians are unemployed and 69 percent of households are living in extreme poverty. 6.7 million people are facing acute food insecurity with a further 4.5 million people at risk of becoming food insecure. 90 percent of households reported spending half their income on food.
Over one third of school-age children in Syria are currently out of school, and have little access to safe spaces to get social support.
Since the conflict began, nearly 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes to escape the violence, with almost half seeking refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon. 6.2 million people are internally displaced.
The people of Syria are optimistic and hopeful that a brighter future and a stronger tomorrow are coming. Our work in Syria focuses on helping them get there by providing resources such as economic opportunities and access to lifesaving food and water assistance.
The Syria field team is led by Country Director Arnaud Quemin and has 350 team members.
The team aims to support individuals and households to become more resilient so that community members — women, men, girls and boys — are able to thrive once again. We are providing emergency assistance to meet the basic needs (food, water, shelter, etc.) of conflict affected communities. We are also helping local economies by supporting small businesses with trainings and cash grants and working with farmers to increase their food production.
Discover more about Mercy Corps' work with Syrian youth and the impact of the Syrian civil war on adolescents in our new report Adolescence Lost.
Despite ongoing conflict, we have been able to provide assistance to millions of Syrians, ranging from delivering emergency kits to helping children heal from trauma. Our work has changed the lives of millions of Syrians. Here are a few of our results to date:
- Our services reach over 42,000 Syrians every month.
- We recently distributed clean water, food and other essentials to more than 70,000 people in southwestern Syria.
- In 2017, we ensured 101,000 Syrians had sustainable access to clean water.
- For more than three years we provided local bakeries with more than 150 million pounds of free flour so families in need could afford to buy bread.
How to help
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Q&A: How is the Syria crisis reshaping the Middle East?
More than 5 million Syrians have been forced to seek safety in neighboring countries. How will that change the fabric of the Middle East? Learn more in this Q&A with Mercy Corps' country directors for Lebanon and Jordan, George Antoun and Hunter Keith.
Syria: No way out: A Q&A on the violence overtaking Eastern Ghouta, Syria
Some of the worst violence seen in more than seven years of war is taking place right now in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region. Learn more about what's happening and what our local partners are doing to help.
Syria: How can technology transform the refugee crisis?
From digital diplomas to biometric identity protection, read how Mercy Corps and Microsoft are exploring breakthrough technology to impact the refugee crisis.
Jordan, Syria: For refugees in Jordan, two months became five years
Many families thought they would only be in Jordan's Zaatari camp a matter of weeks. As each year passes, life in the camp has taken them further from home.
Syria: The Wages of War: How are Syrians adapting their lives to the crisis?
Despite years of war, one-third of Syrian households have adapted their livelihoods so they can keep going during conflict. Read how, in this interview with Mercy Corps' research and learning team.
Lebanon, Syria: I fled Syria on foot over the mountains with my four kids. This is my story.
When her husband disappeared and her kids went hungry, leaving Syria became her only option. Maram shares her first-person account of becoming a refugee.
Jordan, Syria: 7 ways you're helping Syrian refugees build better lives
Because of caring people like you, our response to the Syrian refugee crisis has kept growing — and now, there are so many ways we are working together to help Syrian refugee families.
Syria: Raqqa gripped by humanitarian crisis after months of fighting
Residents of Raqqa face a lack of food, power and water as well as lingering violence after being captured from ISIS. Mercy Corps is outside of the city working to provide displaced families with essential supplies.
Jordan, Syria: For refugees with disabilities, a back to school to remember
Syria's most vulnerable refugee students face incredible barriers to receiving an education. That's why going back to school means so much more for them than the end of summer.
Lebanon, Syria: After years of violence, one family finds hope
The war in Syria changed everything for Fozza. The regular, peaceful home she shared with her husband, Khalil, six children and eight grandchildren was gone, replaced by a life in conflict.